Category Archives for "Unlock A Phone"

General Yet Exciting

What Does Unlocking A Phone Do? Get To Know The Benefits

If you are ​looking to buy a new phone, or even a used one, then you may have ​come across phones ​labeled as locked ​or unlocked. Locked phones are those ​that are "locked" to specific carrier networks like AT&T ​or Verizon​. Unlocked ​phones are not "locked" ​to a specific carrier​. For some people, there is no difference between an unlocked phone and a locked one. But if you've ever wondered what does unlocking a phone do, then continue ​reading ​below to ​get yourself familiarized.

Locked Bootloader

Most people are not familiar with what a bootloader is. It is a program in your phone which loads the operating system when the device is turned on.

As its name suggests, it boots the system and loads programs and applications so they are ready to be used. The bootloader found in smartphones are factory locked. This is to protect the operating system from vulnerabilities which can lead to security issues.

​Aside from security ​& system integrity issues, unlocking the bootloader can also​ effect your warranty ​due to changes in the software of the phone. If you are buying your phone with plans of customizing the software, then choose a phone with an unlockable bootloader. Ask first from the cellphone provider if the bootloader is unlockable. There is no definite method on ​unlocking a bootloader but ​there are several how to videos on YouTube.

Sim Locked ​Phones

Aside from locked bootloaders, there are SIM locked phones which is what's most commonly referred to when saying the phone is locked. This means that you cannot use any other SIM carriers other than the carrier it was originally for.

The phone will not work with another carrier’s SIM inserted. SIM locks has nothing to do with a locked bootloaders. Unlike locked bootloaders, SIM locked phones are easier to unlock. 

You can first try to call the carrier of the phone and ask for them to unlock the phone. However, do not expect the carrier networks to make this an easy process. Usually, they sell phones with a predefined locked period. This means that they will not unlock any phone that falls within this predetermined period. 

Second, you can go to a local cell phone repair shop to see if they offer a SIM unlocking service. At our local store in Austin we can unlock your iPhone along with most Android smartphone. The process can take up to 10 business days but once completed, it will be unlocked forever to be used on an​y GSM network.​ 

Third, you can try to unlock your phone online. There are many websites that offer their unlocking services. You will have to provide some information from the phone you want to unlock and pay a fee. Everything is done remotely and it can be difficult to get support if you need help with the process. 

Be careful when ​using an online unlocking service, some of them​ can ​be a scam to get your personal details. ​Check out different websites first, check their online reviews and ​try to contact them by phone to prove their legitimacy.

Nowadays, ​the carrier networks also ​provide cell phones ​that are already unlocked. This makes things easier for people who ​want the ​ability to ​switch carriers or travel overseas and use the same phone. ​Having an unlocked phone gives you the flexibility ​so that no matter how much you change your carrier, you do not need ​to buy a new phone. 

Locked vs. Unlocked Phones

In ​the below sections, we will talk about the differences between a SIM locked and unlocked phones. We ​briefly ​touched on these two kinds of phones above but in ​the below sections, we will ​dive more ​into the differences between the two. ​​So, what does unlocking phone do? 

Locked Phones

Locked phones are typically sold by the carrier networks. The lock is not a hardware lock but is actually a software lock put in pace by the manufacturer at the requirement of the carrier network selling the device. The lock is there to ensure that the carrier of the phone will only work on their network. If another network's SIM card is inserted the device will not register and prompt for the unlock code.

​It is important to not that not all phones are unlocked using an unlock code. For example, iPhone's are unlocked through software downloaded from iTunes.

Unlocked Phones

An unlocked phone is usually the preferred choice because it does not tie you down to a specific carrier. Also, there typically are no contracts to sign since getting an unlocked phone means paying full retail price upfront.

​Additionally, there ​may be more models to choose from since there ​are certain models not offered by carriers. An unlock phone ​is also less hassle for the ​person who travels internationally. ​While traveling with an unlocked phone you can easily switch from local carrier networks to international SIM cards. ​Also, unlocked phones can be resold at a higher price compares to locked phones.

Benefits ​Of Having ​An Unlocked Phone

In conclusion, having an unlocked phone has its pros which clearly outweigh the cons. To summarize, here are ​a few of those reasons.

​More savings​: ​Let’s face it, locked phones are more expensive than unlocked ones. ​Additionally, they have costly fees when it comes to ​getting it unlocked or carrier​ termination fees if you want to switch carriers. ​​If you find yourself dissatisfied with ​your ​current carrier, then it is fairly easy and much cheaper to switch to another one with an unlocked phone.

A good traveling companion: Because you can swap SIMs without the hassle, an unlocked phone is the best companion when traveling. You can use international SIM cards or ​the local ones in the ​country you are in. 

Faster performance and updates: Locked phones often have an additional software which manufacturers use to lock the device. In unlocked phones, this software is ​nonexistent. Therefore, there is more space in the device for you to use and it's not bogged down by bloatware. For other phones like those run by Android, software updates ​come faster with unlocked phones. 

3 Proven Methods & Reliable Places That Unlock Cell Phones

There many reasons why you would want to unlock your cell phone. Up until a couple of years ago, it was one of the main things people did to get the newest iPhone on their service. However, Apple has now started offering their phones on more networks. Now, folks are unlocking their phones to broaden their network choice or they plan on using it overseas. So, where are the places that unlock cell phones? Continue reading to find out.

Your Network Carrier Is The Place To Start

Most network providers have the ability to unlock cell phones that are lock to their network. For example, AT&T can only unlock a phone that is meant for AT&T and no other company.

However, They make it extremely difficult and sometimes charge fees. In general the phone you wish to unlock will have to be out of contract, fully paid for and must not be reported lost or stolen.

Every carrier is different however you should expect to get the run around and have to jump through several hoops to get them to unlock it for you. The trade off is if you can get them to unlock your phone it is usually done for free and you can save versus the other method I am about to suggest.

The Other Places That Unlock Cell Phones

The ability to unlock your phone is not limited to your network provider. There are plenty of providers out there that will do it for a fee. Some are good and some are bad. You have to be careful with online sites because some will take your money and never complete the unlock, give you a bad unlock code, bad instructions & bad support.

Here at The Austin Cell Phone we offer our own cell phone unlocking service for almost all smartphones. You can walk into our brink and mortar store in Austin Texas to get it unlocked or you can give us a call and speak to a live person.

Our process is different, we check to make sure that the phone you want to unlock is compatible to be unlocked. Not all phones can be unlocked. Then we get the information we need, request payment and take it from there.

Every phone is different depending on the make and carrier it is locked to. This means that the price and time frame will also be different. It is important to understand this because for most phones, unlock it is not an instant process.

What makes us different is that we will explain the whole process to you from start to finish. When the unlock is complete we will either walk you through the process over the phone or complete it in the store.

The best part is if the unlock fails you get a full refund.

Additionally, we have phones that are already unlocked that you can buy if your phone is not eligible to be unlocked, fails or if you just need another phone. Check out our eCommerce site Best Used Cell Phones for phones we have for sale, including unlocked phones.

Unlock Your Phone Using Software

The third and final option is to use a hacking software to unlock your phone. We do not recommend this but it is an option available to you. You should only consider this if all other options fail.

Why should you not consider this as your first option? Unlocking your phone with software involves hacking into it or gaining root access to the phone. This often causes problems with the software and can even brick your phone.

If you are not familiar with the term "Bricking Your Phone" it means that it becomes an expensive paper weight.

Also, unlocking your phone with software often erases all of the information on the phone and voids out your warranty so proceed at your own risk. This is a service we do not offer with the exception of Sprint Samsung phones since that is the only way to unlock those phones at this time.

Go With What Works Best For You

So these are the 3 main ways and places that unlock phones. We suggest going with the method that works best for you. If you are still confused and need a little guidance leave us a comment or give us a call. We are always happy to help and answer questions.

An Introduction To The Austin Cell Phone

Allow an introduction to The Austin Cell Phone. Can’t quite decide between an iPhone and an Android device or maybe you are a senior who is seeking simpler phone options? Still battling with the decision on repairing or placing? Looking for the best cell phone that fits your lifestyle? If finding the cell phone that will give you the best bang for your buck is getting to be a bit too complicated, you’ve definitely come to the right place…

We aim to be your go-to resource for the latest and most accurate information on buying, selling or repairing your cell phone in Austin Texas. In particular, our goal and mission is to support our local Austin cell phone business and have it thrive while giving back to the Austin community.

But whether you’re from Austin or elsewhere in the world, you’ll be sure to find our posts and articles useful in your search for all things cell phone related, or in dealing with your cell phone repairs.

How We Can Help You With Your Cell Phone?

While cell phones and smart devices were made to make our lives easier, choosing the right one has gotten to be downright confusing. Handsets from different manufacturers come with multiple screen sizes, run on different operating systems, and are loaded with various features. This has made the smart phone arena virtually an endless maze of options.

Some of the more tech-savvy consumers are able to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape, but many are barely treading water and some are even left pounding their heads against a wall in frustration.

But why be frustrated when you can be enlightened? With the right information in your hands, it’s easier to sort through the capabilities of each cell phone, picking out the features that work for you and those that don’t. Let us help you narrow down your options.

My name is Alfonso, the moving force behind, and I would like to be your cell phone guy. I am by no means a certified expert with a technical degree under my belt. What I am though, is a die-hard technology enthusiast and a quick learner. I would be more than happy to help you find the answers and the information you need.

Here’s what can do to help ensure you get the best value for your money when it comes to buying, selling or repairing cell phones in Austin:

  • Answer any phone related questions you might have with your phone

So whether you’re on the lookout for a new cell phone, need a screen replaced, or even just want to upgrade to the latest Android version or have an iPhone unlocked, we can take care of you.

How We Are A Different Cell Phone Store?

Now with the hundreds, perhaps thousands of other websites offering cell phone reviews and tips, why come to

It’s quite simple, really. It’s because more than just providing reliable information through our articles and blog posts, we are offering a venue where we can engage the awesome, tech savvy Austin community. We want to take care of all your cell phone needs, and at the same time, support the Austin economy by encouraging the local community to reuse, recycle, and keep phones out of our landfills.

So what therefore makes us different is our passion – in helping consumers make informed decisions, in finding a solution to your every cell phone need, and in supporting our local Austin cell phone business.